RandBall: When will the NFL's popularity start to wane?

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • March 24, 2014 - 9:37 AM


We've long been believers in the concept of a tipping point -- even before we quite knew the words to express it, as Malcolm Gladwell did so well. Things that swing up must swing down, and vice-versa, like a Calcutta Clipper.


Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban seems to believe the NFL's tipping point will be its new Thursday night TV contract:

"I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion," Cuban said Sunday evening when his pregame conversation with reporters, which covered a broad range of topics, swayed toward football. "I'm just telling you, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And they're getting hoggy. Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I'm just telling you, when you've got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That's rule number one of business."

Cuban is specifically referring to the NFL expanding their television package. He considers it a poor business decision for the NFL, which consistently dominates TV ratings, to play games on days other than Sunday and Monday.

We don't necessarily disagree that the NFL is headed for a rude awakening, but we imagine it will be the cumulative effect of a lot of things and not just overexposure. Because as of right now, many fans treat the league's offerings in the manner of our friend Saeed, who once said of life in general: "too much is never enough."

The combination of the concussion problem, a gradual boredom with fantasy football and our increasingly short attention spans will not be the death of the NFL, but it will cause a decline in the league's popularity (not to the point, though, that it will slip below any other sport in the U.S. for at least a generation).

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